Self-diagnosis – the danger of modern life?
Imagine that you woke up with an unexpected pain in your back. Now, you are dressing up and you start feeling dizzy. You’re beginning to wonder: “What’s going on?” and… reaching your smartphone to browse the symptoms online?
Most of us have been in a similar situation – a few steps away from the self-diagnosis. The enormous amount of information is there, after all, and doctor’s appointment can take time and money. Right? But, could symptom-checking be the answer to health concerns?
Online self-diagnosis: valid or dangerous?
Scientists are warning that currently, a health-related online word search is a flawed diagnostic process. It’s based on advertising search models and the results are ranked by frequency of search. Since the users have a tendency to escalate to search extreme results, they are impacting on rankings. For example, one may commence a search for headache-type symptoms and subsequently escalate to reviewing material related to brain tumours.
The Internet may appear to offer valuable medical information, however, it can raise a false alarm or reduce the chances of testing or prescribed medication. Moreover, it can lead to unpleasant side effects as a result of misdiagnosis. For instance, in Britain, surveys showed every fourth woman had misdiagnosed herself on the internet – then bought the wrong medicine.
In addition, The Web seems to be in correlation with anxieties (cyberchondria) of people who have little or no medical training, especially when a web-search is employed as a diagnostic procedure.
“If you know what you’re looking for, it’s helpful but, if you don’t, you’re opening Pandora’s Box,” Dr Wadegaonkar said.
Thrust in online health information
As l had noted, self-diagnosing may have tremendous repercussions on well-being. While reading health-related topics may be helpful and informative, it’s wise to take it with scepticism. Particular symptoms may or may not be related to certain conditions, and the search results are certainly not the medical diagnosis. It’s important to check your concerns with the professionals and treat certain conditions effectively.